Williamson County Election Records Show Democratic Candidates Voted in GOP Primary – An Effort Intended to Stop Republican Julie Hannah?

Anne McGraw and Bill Peach

Early voting is underway in local elections across the state and runs through April 26, with the Election Day itself occurring May 1. In deep red Republican Williamson County there has been some concern among conservative Republican leaders that local Democrats may cross over to vote in the Republican Primary. Because Tennessee does not have party registration, voters can pick which primary in which they choose to vote each election, although Tennessee state law does require that the “choice” is a legitimate expression of party allegiance.

Those concerns have been confirmed as at least two high profile Democrats have already voted “as Republicans” in the Republican Primary during early voting.  One of the two has qualified as a candidate for the State House as a Democrat in the Democratic Party primary slated for August 2; the other is currently running as a Democrat for a county office in the May 1 primary and therefore did not vote for herself in the Democratic Party primary in which she is a candidate.

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Bill Peach (pictured, right) has run previously for the State House as a Democrat against Jeremy Durham and failed to get 30% of the vote in 2014. He is a candidate again, running for the Democratic Party nomination to oppose Rep. Glen Casada (R-Franklin) in the 61st House District in November. Last week he voted in the Republican Primary for the May 1 county elections.

Anne McGraw is also a Democratic Party candidate and is on the ballot for the May 1 primary election for the office of County Commission. However, like Peach, she voted in the Republican primary last week – choosing to not even vote in the Democratic Primary for herself!

Chad Gray, Administer of Elections for Williamson County, confirmed to The Tennessee Star that the cumulative list of GOP Primary voters provided to the Tennessee Star reflects those who have voted last week in the Republican Primary – and that Peach and McGraw both voted in that primary.

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Tennessee law allows individuals to vote in the primary they select each election day – subject to a few conditions:

2-7-115(b). Residence requirements – Primary Election voting requirements. 

 (b) A registered voter is entitled to vote in a primary election for offices for which the voter is qualified to vote at the polling place where the voter is registered if:

 (1) The voter is a bona fide member of and affiliated with the political party in whose primary the voter seeks to vote; or

 (2) At the time the voter seeks to vote, the voter declares allegiance to the political party in whose primary the voter seeks to vote and states that the voter intends to affiliate with that party.

It is difficult to imagine that either Peach or McGraw actually intends to “affiliate” with the Republican Party while they are campaigning as Democratic Party candidates. There may be other less high profile Democrats doing the same thing, which is a concern that many Republicans have already expressed.

Debbie Deaver, Williamson County Republican Party Chair, pointed out that the two longtime, staunch Democrats – who are currently Democrat candidates for office – are possibly committing some form of voter fraud by voting in the Republican Primary. “I will be exploring the options available to us with the Election Commission and will pursue whatever recourse we have to prevent Democrats from engaging in this sort of illegal election activity. Nobody would seriously believe that either Peach or McGraw have suddenly become Republicans and we shouldn’t tolerate anyone undermining our party nomination process to advance some Democratic Party political scheme.”

Some conservative Republicans have told The Tennessee Star that they believe the crossover voters from the Democratic Party are trying to keep former Republican County Chair Julie Hannah from winning the Republican Primary for County Register of Deeds. “They see the Establishment Republicans who have dominated the County offices for so long as much more docile than a Julie Hannah,” one local Republican official said. “They prefer Republicans who are more like Democrats than Republicans who mean it, so stopping Julie Hannah from being elected is clearly a priority for them.”

Conservative Republican strategist and political analyst Steve Gill says he has heard the same suspicions, and finds it shocking that candidates for office as Democrats would be so bold as to cross over into the Republican Primary. “Restrictions on crossover voting are seldom if ever enforced,” Gill noted, “but when you have people voting as Republicans while they are running as Democrats that should definitely draw attention and scrutiny from election officials.”

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15 Thoughts to “Williamson County Election Records Show Democratic Candidates Voted in GOP Primary – An Effort Intended to Stop Republican Julie Hannah?”

  1. […] Tennessee Star first reported on the alleged actions of McGraw and fellow Democrat Bill Peach on April […]

  2. Oops, they do that 2 more times, then they will qualify to run on the TNGOP platform, according to the SEC rules, huh? Back to the drawing board…

  3. Hal Rounds

    Blaming the politicians is futile, when they never get the face-to-face chastisement that would wake them up. When was the last time that those who write in this forum got together in mass and – peacefully but firmly – “invaded” the State House and made it clear to the pols that you are being betrayed – by them…?

  4. David lampley

    There is only around 550 people register in the Republican Party so only 550 people should be able to vote . Most of you in this chat are not paying due to the Republican Party

    1. David lampley

      I am talking about Williamson county

  5. Stuart I. Anderson

    There is legislation closing our primaries ;ready to be passed just sitting in committees of the House and Senate (HB 0887 and SB 0772). Where are our conservative leaders giving this legislation the publicity it needs for passage? Isn’t it time conservatives dispense with the assistance of the Bill Peach’s and Anne McGraw’s of the world in choosing Republican candidates? Conservatives better make closing our primaries a priority because I don’t think the Republican Establishment can expected to be all that enthused about depriving itself of the assistance it receives from activist liberals thanks to our open primaries.

    1. Lance Persson

      I have been told that HB0887 and SB0772 will not be brought out of committee this year and will have to be reintroduced in the next legislative session. There is no doubt in my mind that the reason it did not get out of committee this year is because Governor Haslam does not want closed primaries. Wonder why. If we want to get it passed in the next legislative session, we need to to clearly ask the governor candidates whether or not they will support passing bills that will allow our current primary law to be enforced. It will be harder to get those bills passed if the governor we elect this fall opposes closed primaries as our current governor does.

      1. Stuart I. Anderson

        As I would have said in my misspent childhood, “Elect Randy! Boyd – FORGET ABOUT IT”!

    2. Cyndi Miller

      The Williamson County Republican Party issued a Resolution to Close the Primaries in Tennessee. The legislation gets rolled every year due to the lack of support from the committee in the House of Representatives. It will come up again next year, and everyone who wishes to see the Primaries closed should call and ask their Representative and Senator to vote for the bills. Watch for it to come up in the SEC in the fall as well!

  6. David lampley

    It is crazy to think that the would care about the register of deeds and not the mayor .

    1. EVERY position is important. Do you have any odea what goes on with the school boards? It all starts there. There’s a reason the radical left targets local elections, from dog catcher on up. It’s a long-term game plan, not a one-off thing. That is why it is important to vote each and every election, and to be as informed as possible.

    2. Stuart I. Anderson

      I don’t think they care so much about the Register (shouldn’t it be Registrar?) of Deeds as they care about someone like Julie Hannah winning elective office in Williamson County. Julie was a very effective Republican Party Chairman, she’s attractive, highly articulate and a strong conservative. In other words she’s just the type of individual that the 36 liberal Democrats in the County don’t want to see in elective office enough to bestir themselves to vote against in the Republican primary. If liberals are smart enough to live in a Republican dominated area they much prefer to be governed by Chamber of Commerce supported tall grass dwelling Republicans, if you know what I mean.

      1. David lamprey

        With no experience and just another politician, that has a political ambition to be more

  7. 83ragtop50

    The law is absurd. There needs to be closed primaries “yesterday”. How much longer are we legitimate conservative voters going to be required to live with this sham?